Please welcome to the stage, Trina Green Brown, Ted Bunch, Neil Irvin, Wade Davis and Ed Heisler.
Tony: Before we get started, I just have to welcome someone who's been with us since this morning. Chelsea, are you here? I want to introduce you all to someone. This is Chelsea and I always have a hard time with the name. [inaudible 00:00:31]. Chelsea is one of our volunteers. She's come to us through the Raven Group by way of [inaudible 00:00:39] violence. Chelsea's a incredibly young woman, Stanford Grad, 2015, did great at Stanford, also ran cross country and track, and then in her junior years switched to rugby. So we're supporting Chelsea and I want you all to just give her some encouragement as you her through today and tomorrow, but we're one of her sponsors, A Call to Men is, because she's training for the 2020 women's rugby team in the Olympics.
Chelsea is no joke. So we're glad you're here with us Chelsea, we love you, and keep up the good work.
Trina: Yay, Chelsea.
Tony: [inaudible 00:01:22]
Trina: I see you boo.
Tony: [inaudible 00:01:23]
Trina: Good afternoon everyone.
Tony: [inaudible 00:01:26]
Group: [Good afternoon 00:01:26]
Trina: We'll try that again, I know it's the end of the day; but let's try that again.
Good afternoon everyone.
Group: Good afternoon.
Trina: Alright, so I'm Trina Green Brown and it's a honor to facilitate and moderate this panel of some incredible, exceptional men that we know in this work. We've heard a lot today about what does it mean to embrace our authentic selves, what does it mean for men, how can men embrace their authentic selves; and so this group is tasked with talking about what are some of the challenges and what are some of the rewards of men embracing their authentic selves. So we're gonna dig into that and I'll just name that- first off, one of the challenges in conference setting to men embracing their authentic selves is things like this. Like, it's a main stage, there's lights: it's hard to really be your authentic and whole selves on a public panel, but that's what I'm inviting y'all to do.
So we talked on a prep call and I said the key to authenticity is vulnerability and revealing pieces of yourself. That might feel hard and uncomfortable, but I'm inviting you into that space, although it be public.
Earlier today Alexis said, "We all have our conference selves and then there's this different panel presenting conference self, where you have to be like, 'Hello, my name is so and so and I'm an expert in this area.' and we're gonna throw all that out."
So guys throw it all out. We're not- literally throw it all out with your bodies. Look it- y'all so tight. Thank you. Let it go. Throw it out. Let it go.
Alright, so we're gonna jump in with some authentic storytelling. And so I want you to introduce yourselves, but not like you're on paper bio. Not that one. Your like authentic selves. So tell us a little bit about who you are. And I invite you to share a piece of yourself that feels vulnerable, that has been challenging to share, since we're talking about what are the challenges.
So welcome. Who wants to go first?
Ted: I'll take the shot.
Wade: Okay. [crosstalk 00:03:38]
Trina: Thank you Wade.
Wade: Go head, yeah.
Ted: Okay, I will. Thank you my brother. Thank you Trina. Good to be here on the panel with you guys and I appreciate you wanting to start off. But I wanna jump in here because one of the things I wanna share around authenticity with my relationship with you. And so Tony- when Trina said be authentic, Tony said, "Yeah, that means you."
And I'm like, "I can be authentic, Tony."
So, not my conference self. My name's Ted. While I am the co-founder of A Call to Men and the chief development officer, I'm also a father and a man; and a man who continues to learn what manhood is, what fatherhood is, what being in a relationship with people is. I have three children. One child who is an adult, another who's in college now, and then another. And one of my childs just came out this summer, who I'm very proud of, and we're celebrating him for that.
And so I was- I wanted to go first because when we- when I first- when we first met Wade, right? When I first was even talking about this conversation with Wade, and Neil, and myself here and when I was gonna meet Wade I had seen his Ted Talk. If you all wanna see a wonderful Ted Talk, it's on masculinity, Wade Davis, it's excellent. Tony also has a very good Ted Talk. GQ magazine said it was top Ted Talks every man should see, outstanding Ted Talk. Really powerful messages from both of these men.
But what was interesting- and we were on the conference call planning this with Trina. We were talking about being authentic and we're talking about- you know, I'm thinking as far as work, I'm thinking as far as working with others, and then we said, "No. We need to delve deep into our authentic selves, me."
And I said, "you know, when I was gonna be on-" when I first met Wade- we've done a thing around black and brown girls. We have an initiative, A Call to Men, around black and latino girls in particular who are missing and who are running away from home, and really calling on African American and latino men around the country to get involved. If we don't do something who will?
So we were- had a think tank [inaudible 00:06:02], Trina was there, and a number of others. And as I was going into the room, knowing that I've heard Wade's Ted talk, and he's an out gay man, and I'm preparing myself for being in the room with an out gay man. Like I need to prepare myself. Like, okay, what's he gonna think of me? Am I gonna say the right things? Right? So being authentic now, alright? Being authentic. So all of this is going through my head, even as being the co-founder of this organization, right? This anti-sexism organization. This organization who works with the margins of the margins and worrying about my own homophobia, how's that gonna play out? Am I gonna say something wrong? Heterosexist? Because we're all homophobic, we're all heterosexist, how can we not be? That's how we're- that's our socialization. It's- we have to be intentional about not being.
Neil: [inaudible 00:06:55]
Ted: Right? Cause it's counterintuitive to the messages we're getting, isn't it?
Ed: We learn that on our own.
Ted: That's right. So being our authentic selves is saying, "Man,"- Y know like I am looking at myself as I'm preparing to meet with these brothers and I'm laughing at myself, but I'm also- there's some anxiety. I'm like, "Man I don't wanna say anything that's gonna- I don't wanna say anything wrong. I don't wanna do anything wrong." And just being my authentic self is enough, I know that, because part of being our authentic selves is that, if it's truly authentic, then you can work with that, can't you? You can work with me if I'm authentic and I mess up, right? You can work with me.
So that's where the authenticity is really something that's very important and something we need as men. So anyway, I'll start there.
Trina: Thank you. Neil, would you like to introduce yourself? Or was Wade ready?
Wade: No, I'm-
No, Wade go please, I don't care.
Wade: Hi everyone. Wow, thank you for sharing that, Ted. I'll dovetail that and say that watching Byron's documentary on hazing- so some of you may not know I'm a former NFL player and hazing was a part of high school, not so much in college, and not so much in the NFL. But I was similar to Byron, I was a bully in high school, and I was a bully because I wasn't out as being gay. But as I was watching the film I was just wrestling with why was I doing that and I really- I think about- it was just me wanting to be loved.
That was at the root of it. I wanted- Yeah, I wanted to be accepted. Yeah, I wanted to be a part of something. But really I wanted someone to love me, because I didn't love myself. I just- I didn't have that skillset, I didn't have a practice. So when I tour around speaking and stuff I typically wear an activist shirt and I had one on earlier today, but I was being selfish and I had some french fries and I spilled something on it. So I wanted to own that and just say hey like, "I'm not in my normal outfit that makes me feel really confident."
Cause I grew up also with a speech impediment, so I'm always worried about stuttering. So I'm just gonna [inaudible 00:09:17] my authenthic self and say, "I don't have my Superman shirt on, but I'mma do my best."
Neil: That's good.
Trina: Thank you.
Ed: [inaudible 00:09:25] Well hello everybody, my name's Ed Heisler, and in my day to day life I'm the director of Men As Peacemakers; I get to be a core trainer for A Call to Men. And also in my day to day life I'm a husband. I have an incredibly kind, amazing wife named Jen. She's a third grade teacher. So that's a big part of who I am. I grew up an athlete in a small town in Wisconsin and I maintained that competitive streak by loving board games and goofiness. And I have this- I have a pretty significant case of hair envy that I deal with. And I have this sort of- I'm 34 years old and I'm just waiting till I'm over the age of 50 so that I can be bald, and grow my hair out like all the way down to my back, and maybe have a motorcycle, or a moped, or something like that, and feel that hair in the breeze. I mean, those sorts of things are something I'm really looking forward to.
But also, on a more serious note, the reason that I'm even here in the first place comes from- you know I had an upbringing where I came straight out of the man box, you know? Athlete, looked at the world through a lens of United States is an equal platform, everybody's on equal footing, it's individualism, it's personal choice, all of that kind of stuff. And my process of getting to the place where I get to do this work with people every day has involved everything from an out lesbian woman when I was in college calling me out when I said, "I don't think sexual assault is actually an issue. I don't think that women should be carrying around mace. I think they just need to take control of their own sort of destiny and step into their own power, right?"
And her having conversations with me about how that wasn't actually the reality that she was living through: it meant graduating out of college and having folks like Tony, and Ted, and Pang Tao, and Sarah Curtis, and others talk to me about the way that we were doing our work. I'll never forget Tony sort of telling me about our boys group, it was run by white folks, exclusively, but had predominantly boys of color in the groups at the time.
He said, "That's one of the more racist things that you could do, right? You're teaching values to boys and you don't have anybody who reflects their community in that room with them, helping them share those values?"
So the sort of version of me that people get to know on a personal basis, get to play boardgames with, is constructed by all of these men and women, people like Lena, who have invested love, and time, and conversation into me. And I think that that's really a reflection the community we're trying to all create together.
Neil: So let me go into my authenthic self I guess, I'm Neil Irvine.
Trina: Go deep.
Neil: Go deep, okay. I work at Men Can Stop Rape and my passion for this work is not around gender based violence prevention, or sexual assault prevention, and that may sound strange for someone who is now- I'm going into my 18th year at Men Can Stop Rape. But as much opportunity as there is to do this work across the country, I'm always really pleased and excited when Ted and Tony give a call to come and be with these brothers and to learn from so many of the men and women in this room. Tonya Lovelace, and Beth Richie, and I see Nicole over there, and there's my girl Becky Masaki. I mean I come here to get reenergized. I think it is the thing that I'm always confident about. I see my man Jason Page coming in, who works with our young people, and our college Christina Gilcrest came back. When I'm here with you all, I don't have to teach, I don't have to perform or role model, I can be messy here, and you all can hold me accountable. I can ask difficult questions, and I can say, "you know, this is really pissing me off. What do you all think about this?"
So what I really fell good about this is it really speaks to the hard work. I've seen every film Byron's made, and my man Quinton Walcott is a constant resource to me. I see my man Jeff over there. So I just come here to get reenergized, and it feels a little selfish, but it feels also like the best of self care to have a network of people. As I say to the boys and young women that we work with in Washington D.C., and have said now for 18 years, you are gonna help me raise my children. And there have been many moments where I have called former members, or they have dropped by when the children are with me, and I've had my children seek their council. I'm dad, I'm supposed to say and do the things I do. But when the young people that we've worked with role model, or communicate, or interact with them. I know that those are moments that have just transformational impact in my own children's lives, and the young people that we work with.
So I'm just blessed to be here. I not a particularly religious person but I'm just so honored every time I have an opportunity to just be with you all, and to learn, and to just take care of myself.
Trina: Thank you. Nice meeting you all on a deeper level. Thanks for revealing those pieces of yourselves that- just the pure desire to want to be loved, the fear of not getting it right or misstepping when it comes to homophobia or gender equity, not knowing it all in the beginning and still learning, wanting to be in learning stance, right? So that is what it means to model and practice vulnerability and give your authentic self. So I really appreciate that and honor you for doing that.
Now, in regards to authenticity, and authenticity requires a lot of risk taking, and so it's sometimes not often safe for folks to be their most authentic selves. So I'll go with you, Wade first- like we know that the level of risk increases or decreases based on a man's identity, his race, his orientation, his class, and the multiple identities could increase or decrease your level of risk when you're being vulnerable. So Wade, what are some of the challenges that you feel men of color specifically face when they're trying to be their authentic selves? What are the challenges or barriers for men of color?
Wade: Yeah, so I think there's a lot of challenges that we face and I know that we had the pre call, but I thought a lot about my pre call, some I'm gonna do a audible a little bit. And what I've been thinking about a lot is, and we talked about this a little bit, is that I don't believe in this idea of safe space. You know, like what's safe to me is not safe to you. I think there are safer spaces, right? And one of my favorite people in the whole world, what bell hooks teaches us, we have to learn to stand in the circumstance of risk, right? And that people of color, people who are marginally oppressed, indigenous folks, differently abled folks, they always stand in the circumstance of risk. They have no choice because they're still here, right?
And then I was reading this article and it said that men commit suicide 3.5 times more than women, and that white men account for 7/10 suicides in this country in 2015. So what I got to thinking about is that actually when you're an oppressed person, you know what risk taking feels like; because your whole life has been that. Like just waking up, you know? That's why we have terms like black girl magic. It's not that black women are superwoman, but the fact that you all are still here means that there is some magic happening, that you know how to stand in the circumstance of risk, and you've done that forever.
Neil: That's right.
Wade: So I think we actually kind of need to push the conversation a little bit and go- we actually need to teach other folks how to take real risk. Specifically folks who commit- like teach men, because black women, indigenous folks, trans folks- we honestly have to say words like lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, [inaudible 00:17:33] we actually have to say those names. Those are risks that will have to take in the spaces that you exist in.
You know, Mya Andrews says that the most important virtue is courage, because if you don't have courage no other virtue can be practiced consistently. We gotta have courage to say these actual words out loud. Those are some risk that we can take. So I would say that we can't be afraid to say the names of folks who are taking real risk. We can't be afraid to follow the models of women who have showed us what risk taking actually look like. And [inaudible 00:18:04] they're our new sponsors. They're our mentors cause you've been doing it forever and you are still here.
So men you know how to take risks? Just read a book written by some women. There is some amazing queer feminist literature that you just gotta pick it up, and it's right there in front of you, and you go, "Oh my god, I know how to take risks. I know how to be courageous."
Cause it's all there for you: just read.
Trina: Read a book. Read a book.
So thank you Wade.
So if that- if it's just so simple, what gets in the way of men being their authentic selves? What are the barriers?
Ted: I think fear is a major, major obstacle for men. Fear, being vulnerable, what that means, letting go of control, all of those things really are factors in our being our authentic selves. You know, worried about how others will perceive us. I really [inaudible 00:19:10] fear- we talk about a lot at A Call to Men when we're talking to men. Really that fear is really something that paralyzes us. So afraid. Even afraid to ask for help.
You ask your average man if he needs help- you see the world falling down around him, it's crumbling around him, and you ask him, "Hey man, are you alright?"
And what does he say to me folks?
Group: I'm good.
Ted: I'm good.
World is crumbling. I've been there also where it's hard to ask for help. I can do it. I don't need help. You know? And I think that, as- certainly in my own growth, I'm past that; but still it comes up. It comes up sometimes where you don't wanna ask for help, you don't wanna be vulnerable, you don't wanna say that you need something, you don't wanna have to lean on anyone: all of those things. And I think that, for men of color also, it can be even greater.
And I think there's a lot of shame, as men, cause there is shame attached to us asking for help. That we're not man enough. That we're not living up to the expectations.
Neil: [inaudible 00:20:18]
Trina: [inaudible 00:20:18]
Ed: Well, i think- so, from my perspective- so I can- from the perspective of being a cisgendered straight white man, there's a real difference between being an authentic man and the way that we perform being men. And so one thing that I notice about my experience as a white man is that the performance of my manhood has been more open to me than it is for many folks who wouldn't be able to identify as white.
In fact, as I went through a process of learning and growing- I mean, I could take all sorts of risks, I could go outside of the box in a bunch of different ways. I didn't fear for my safety and often times I'd end up being rewarded actually. People would think it was pretty cool that I was taking those risks. And then I could choose to go back into the box when I wanted to go into the box and sort of leverage that piece of the traditional masculinity. So I sorta had that flexibility, and have that flexibility in the performance of my masculinity and my manhood.
But being an authentic man, to me, is another thing. And I think that that, when you have the dominant identities sort of piled on top of one another, it feels like the layers that have to get peeled off. You're a man, you're also a white man in a white supremacist society, you're a straight man in a society that values straight people over gay folks and LGBT community, and the fact that you're taught to be a man in that way that separates you from people so much so that you can benefit, or at least maintain the benefits of your community, and in your society, that's pretty different. So the process of figuring out and learning to take the risks-
Neil: Read the books.
Ed: Actually take those steps that feel risky, that feel vulnerable, that feel like: if I do this, everything might change. That's a different thing entirely. And I think white men are in a position where I see a lot of that playing out.
Neil: I mean, I guess with me working with young people, doing it for the while that we've done it, the obstacles are the same. The same that they've always been. I guess where I feel encouraged is that there are the opportunities, they feel- in some ways they're fixed. So the risks are known. And as we keep evolving as a community, and we keep improving how we respond, it feels like we are more proactive and more transformational than we were when I first met Ted or Tony. And we were reacting then. We were trying to earn accountability. We were trying to really be- and ourselves as men, be authentically accountable.
I think now the muscle memory for many of us continues to improve, so that we're on this journey that allows us to look at these obstacles as a part of this journey we're on. And, in terms of working with young people- you know, Juan Ramos was talking earlier working- some of the gang work that he does. And the credibility of, "Yo, I've been there before. I know exactly what you're talking about." has made our work, I think, more impactful.
And so the obstacles I think are still the same, but our response to them I think has evolved. We've gotten more sophisticated, there's men and women in this room that I don't know, and that wouldn't have been the case 20 years ago.
Trina: So we've been at it- you've been at it, y'all have been at it for 20 plus years doing this. So then what are the rewards? What have you seen in your personal life, in your professional life, what have you seen the rewards of men embracing their authentic self? What's the benefit?
Neil: If I may. Again, my colleagues and I get to work with middle schoolers, summer camp for elementary school students, [inaudible 00:24:41] club and our Women Inspiring Strength and Empowerment program. Our work is indeed not just Men Can Stop Rape, but my colleges here, and so many of you in the community. We're winning in a lot of ways. We are having the impact in communities lives that we've always wanted to have.
And thankfully that the women's movement allowed us this space to try to learn how to be accountable again, how to be authentic, how to support women's leadership so that we can role model for our boys, and for the young people that we serve, the benefits of living a healthier, nonviolent, socially emotionally connected life. I see it in urban, rural, and suburban communities across the country with young people who think some of the struggles that we dealt with, as a community and as a field, is foreign to them.
And so I think that is a product of the work that we have been doing, an outcome of the work that we've been doing, that young people are continuing to- I don't wanna say push the boundaries, in terms of confrontation. But are continuing to evolve in their wisdom and in their sophistication and we've gotten better at supporting and role modeling for them what healthy humanity looks like.
So, for me- I said this to Beth this morning. I thought her comments about love were so functional, that they are a tool [inaudible 00:26:00] I've asked her to share it with us because I think they are a tool that everyone needs to use in the communities you work with. Love as a functional- it's Home Depot. She gave us Home Depot today. You can build whatever you want out of what Beth said today. And I think that that is a product of her not only great wisdom, but all of the collaboration in this room right now for many many years. So I think there's a lot of outcomes that really speak to how hard and how committed so many of you have been in your communities.
Wade: So I spend most of my time either in locker rooms with pro athletes, college or high school athletes, and when I- I cut my teeth working at a LGBTU organization in New York City and they introduced me to what freedom looked like. They really did. And when you see a 13 year old trans girl on a New York City train smiling, you know that she's touching freedom.
And the benefits, for me in my work, is that I get to- I get men to touch freedom. Even if it's for just a moment. And then they can also, to dovetail off of what you were saying, and what Beth said this morning, they could start to learn what it's like to love themselves, and it gives them a chance to love others.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Wade: What I do, my workshops and trainings, I talk about the inner section of sexism and homophobia; that the root of homophobia is sexism. So you can't be doing LGBT inclusion if you're not talking about sexism. And to get me to just step back and just to pause. And when you get men in a space where they can be vulnerable enough to say, "Hey, Wade, I like you but I'm really struggling with this gay shit."
And my next comment is, "Well, tell me more."
Right? To create the space for them to keep having these conversations, and to wrestle with them, and to not- as James [Ball 00:27:57] would say, "I'm in no moral space to judge anybody." Right? But what I can do is try to create spaces where I can hold men accountable and keep wrestling with them. You know, keep dancing with them. And I think that that's the reward, is that everyone starts their journey. And it may not- and I don't expect that journey to end after one or two training sessions. But if the journey starts, if I can just give them a kickstart, then they got a chance to touch freedom.
Ted: I love that, tell me more. I love that. And what resonates with me when you asked your question was freedom. That what's the reward is freedom. You know, I'm able to be free. And over the years we've developed relationships with each other where I can be free with Gale, and Anne, and Wade, and free with you all. That it's a safe place for me to be, and there can be safer places I'm sure, but I feel within myself that there's something within me.
And I remember early on- and I did this with primarily the men of color who are in the field. As Tony and I decided to do this thing, years ago, and I remember meeting Q, Byron, another guy named Don McFearson- there were a couple other men of color who were doing the work. And when I met them, one of the first things I said to them was like, "We wanna always collaborate."
I wanna be aware that the dynamics between us is to dominate each other and I don't wanna do that. Like let's name that- I don't wan- so you'll always see us in collaboration. We don't wanna do what men do, which is dominate each other. Even within the field, cause I've seen it. I've seen it. We- I've seen it. I don't need to go into detail, but I've seen it. I've seen it.
Ed: Talk about it.
Ted: And so that's been something that's always been- you know, understanding how their socialization plays itself out in the room where we are, and being able to call that out, and to name it. So I think there's a freedom that comes with it that's important to say.
Ed: And I think- I mean that sort of echoes what everybody is saying here. But this idea of talking about what the next generation of manhood looks like, is such a beautiful idea; because the man box, the way that men are socialized, with all the different combinations of how that can look, it is about separation. It's about separating us from ourselves. It's about separating us from other men. It's about separating us from other people completely. And when we're in that place, that is not- that's not the expression of my full humanity.
So throughout- when I think about my life trajectory, I started out with a community that was about this big, and we had a sort of, what I would call, kind of a delusional form of reality that we had set up for ourselves. It involved only- pretty much only white people. Only people who fit into the same categories that I do. And as I started to expand out of that, it started to create some real dissonance. So am I supposed to just disappear? Am I- can I be useful to people? How to I have to perform to be able to live up to these people that I haven't been around, that I haven't known, that I haven't understood their reality in the past?
And to continue to immerge into a process where it's your authentic self. It's everything that you bring that is valuable. And the only way out of this mess that we're in is to do it together, is a huge reward. It's the only way that I can feel whole, is by trying to continue to live into that.
Trina: Thank you. So it sounds like what's on the other end of men stepping through the door of vulnerability and into their authentic selves is being able to love themselves and love others, freedom, and collective liberation in being home.
So we only have a few minutes and I wanna invite y'all to give closing words or thoughts. Like a phrase, cause we have like five minutes. Less than five minutes.
Ted: Well I would just say that as we go- as we leave this conference and go into our communities, and we create space for me, hopefully, that really come from a position of love. Like that's so important. Beth talked about it, it's been a theme through the day: love.
Like it's hard to fight against love. You know, it really is hard to fight against love. There's not a lot to grab onto. It's hard to fight against love. And that meeting men where they are, right? Meeting men where they are is really important. That we can't- that we have to allow them to bring themselves in, and all that they bring in with them. You know, about- while holding them accountable, of course. But- and then peeling back those layers for that authentic person to come through. And we have to model that. You know, that's one thing that we do in A Call to Men is we tell a lot of stories that really expose our own transformation, our own growth, our own- and that's what men- that's what resonates. When Tony talks about touch the hearts of men, cause the longest distance- what is it 18 inches between the mind and the heart? When he talk about resonating with men, what resonates with men is honesty; because honesty is authentic.
So if I can share my struggles with my children, or my struggles with my own sexism, if I can share those things and expose those as I've grown through them, show the growth, then it allows men to have the conversation. It gives them permission to have these conversations that we've never had permission to have before, cause whenever we brought these things up, or challenged things, other men have shut us down. Right?
So creating those spaces.
Neil: I just would say those of us who are working with young people, the consistency and love that Ted and others have been talking about- really important. Put your political agendas aside, in terms of trying to meet them where they are. Your priorities are not theirs. And until you develop a relationship of trust with them, so that you can bring them and close that distance of 18 inches, you're going to be chasing your tail; because young people are- not only are they brilliant, but they are struggling. And many times, in our field, I have seen people have a desire to put the shiny bright youth in the front, and their political agenda with that shiny bright youth, and they're ignoring the other issues that may be going on in that young person's life, or in that young person's community.
But if you really meet them where they are, if you really consistently love and show up for them, then you can bring them anywhere you want them to go, and they will do it with the muscle memory of a lifetime. So that sustainability does not have to be- it's a dosage thing. The love you give them has to be a dosage thing. Every time you're there, it has to be the same example of love and consistency for it to take hold. Cause if it was just a curriculum, or a workshop, or a conference: we would do it for world peace and A Call to Men would be out of business.
Right? So I just think that consisting and that love of young people is really important.
Ed: And I would say- I just wanna express appreciation to everybody in this room and also love to everyone here for everything that you bring into my life and to each other's life. I mean, I think we take a page from A Call to Men here and their next generation of manhood idea; because it's radical love. It really is. It's gonna allow us to be in the position to anchor ourselves to a vision of what needs to be and to make that happen purposefully together.
Wade: And lastly, I would say what really moved me from being a closeted, wanting to be heterosexual, sexist homophonic, all those things man was reading books that made me look at the world though the eyes of others. It was really a transformative thing. It's really powerful to read a book that's written by a trans woman. It's really powerful to read a book that's written by someone who's differently abled. It'll change the way that you look at the world. It'll educate you in ways that you can't imagine.
And the last thing I'll leave you with is my supervisor a long time ago, her name is Lilian Rivera, told me that, "Other people's successes aren't your successes and their failures aren't your failures. So all you can do is show up as yourself."
Trina: Thank you.
Tony: [inaudible 00:36:12]